Mi Familia Vota, a pro-Latino voting organization filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block Arizona’s new voting reform laws.
According to The Hill, the group wants to block new laws that tighten requirements on early voting, which were expanded as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped Democrat Joe Biden win the state in the 2020 presidential election.
According to the organization, Mi Familia Vota exists to “build Latino political power by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructures, and through year-round voter engagement.”
It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state since Bill Clinton in 1996.
The new laws limit the time a voter may be on an absentee voter list and require stricter signature guidelines for mail-in voting.
The group claims in its suit that the new laws violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by making it harder for voters, especially people of color, to cast their ballots.
“It is no coincidence that the Arizona legislature enacted these changes only after an election in which (1) for the first time in recent memory, the presidential candidate preferred by Arizona voters of color won; and (2) voters of color increasingly used early voting — the target of the new laws — to help elect their candidate of choice,” the complaint alleges.
According to The Hill, Arizona is one of 18 states to pass voting reform laws following the November election.
Many states loosened state constitutional requirements for voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing people to vote by mail instead of formal absentee ballots or going to the polls in person.
Former President Donald Trump lost the state by a small margin of about 11,000 votes and has supported recounts to audit the results.
In a May story, The Hill reported that the audits generated tension with the GOP-led Maricopa County Board of Elections, which did not want to cooperate with the audit.
The audit is being conducted to restore confidence in the system, supporters say.
Arizona Republicans favor the new laws to reform the system by closing loopholes that may make it easier to commit voter fraud, while Democrats claim the new laws are suppressing votes.
According to The Hill, a 6-3 July U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld a pair of the state’s voting reform laws against just such a Voting Rights Act challenge, notching a victory for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, who is named in the new lawsuit.
“Brnovich has a long track record of successfully upholding Arizona election integrity statutes,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Katie Conner told The Hill. “And he will continue to do so.”
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